If you’re a) retired, b) love to travel, and c) planning your golden gap year, then this next piece of news is targeted at you. You’ve likely spent your entire life waiting to clock off for good and take a permanent vacation – around 64 years if we’re going by the average retirement age in Oz. And if you’re planning a Sydney staycation, it looks like you’re onto something – a ranking of the best travel destinations for retirees has just been released, and the Harbour City scored second place.

To compile the list, travel insurance website, Paying Too Much, compared 45 popular cities from around the world, ranking them on factors that are particularly relevant to senior travellers over the age of 60. These factors included the number of high-quality hotels and their average cost in off-peak periods, the quality of healthcare available, the number of tours in the cities that run during off-peak season, the number of walking trails and how many things there are to do. 

Splendour Tailored Tours, Bronte
Photograph: Supplied | Destination NSW

Australia excelled across the board, ranking as the most desirable location for retirees to travel, with three Aussie cities making the list. Melbourne claimed first place in the city rankings with the highest number of top-notch hotels, plus the second-lowest off-peak rates for a comfortable stay.

Our very own Emerald City followed close behind in second place, winning bonus points for having the highest number of walking routes out of any city. According to the survey, Sydney is home to an incredible 721 walking routes – beating Melbourne, who came in second on the walking routes front with a still impressive 568 routes. Plus, Sydney offers better healthcare (with a score of 71.3 compared to Melbourne’s 69.1) and boasts more off-peak tour options than Melbourne (70 as opposed to 40). But, our friends down south pipped us to the post with more affordable high-end hotels and a more extensive list of things to do. Next on the list was Amsterdam, Berlin and Auckland, with our upstairs neighbour Brisbane in sixth place. 

The ‘second best global destination for travel during retirement’ wasn’t a title that Sydneysiders had ever set our sights on claiming, but hey, we’ll take it. 

Here are the top ten global travel destinations for retirees in 2024: 

  1. Melbourne, Australia
  2. Sydney, Australia
  3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  4. Berlin, Germany
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Brisbane, Australia
  7. Helsinki, Finland
  8. Oslo, Norway
  9. Munich, Germany 
  10. Singapore

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